Nothing can be done, it seems, to persuade Canada’s Niagara Parks Commission that a high-wire walk across Niagara Falls is anything but a crass stunt. Presented with an intriguing proposal by Nik Wallenda for a walk across the gorge that would emphasize artistry and spectacle, the commission quashed the idea by voting not to change its policy on daredevil acts on its side of the river. The decision is a blow to Wallenda, who spoke to Maclean’s last summer of his lifelong dream to cross the falls, and outlined plans that would have neither affected the environment around the river, nor required the services of local emergency workers should something have gone wrong. Wallenda later presented a study to the commission predicting 125,000 spectators would come to view the walk from the Canadian side, while a stunning 411 million would tune in on television—fully 320 million of them overseas. Yet the notion of deriving such commercial benefit from a one-off event seemed, if anything, to rankle the commission. “The value of the preservation of Niagara Falls without stunting is greater than the economic impact of an event,” chair Janice Thomson said tartly. Wallenda said he plans to appeal to Michael Chan, Ontario’s tourism minister, for a review of the decision.
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